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Solomon Islands

Rennell Shrikebill Clytorhynchus hamlini ©Pete Morris Website

Birding The Solomons

The Solomon Islands is a country in Melanesia, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. Together they cover a land mass of 28,400 square kilometres (10,965 sq mi). The capital is Honiara, located on the island of Guadalcanal.

The Solomon Islands is a wide island nation that lies East of Papua New Guinea and consists of many islands: Choiseul, the Shortland Islands; the New Georgia Islands; Santa Isabel; the Russell Islands; Nggela (the Florida Islands); Malaita; Guadalcanal; Sikaiana; Maramasike; Ulawa; Uki; Makira (San Cristobal); Santa Ana; Rennell and Bellona; the Santa Cruz Islands and three remote, tiny outliers, Tikopia, Anuta, and Fatutaka. The distance between the westernmost and easternmost islands is about 1,500 kilometres (930 mi).

The Santa Cruz Islands (of which Tikopia is part), are situated north of Vanuatu and are especially isolated at more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) from the other islands. Bougainville is geographically part of the Solomon Islands, but politically Papua New Guinea.

The islands' ocean-equatorial climate is extremely humid throughout the year, with a mean temperature of 27 °C (80 °F) and few extremes of temperature or weather. June through August is the cooler period. Though seasons are not pronounced, the northwesterly winds of November through April bring more frequent rainfall and occasional squalls or cyclones. The annual rainfall is about 3050 mm (120 in).

The Solomon Islands archipelago is part of two distinct terrestrial ecoregions. Most of the islands are part of the Solomon Islands rain forests ecoregion, which also includes the islands of Bougainville and Buka, which are part of Papua New Guinea, these forests have come under pressure from forestry activities. The Santa Cruz Islands are part of the Vanuatu rain forests ecoregion, together with the neighboring archipelago of Vanuatu. Soil quality ranges from extremely rich volcanic (there are volcanoes with varying degrees of activity on some of the larger islands) to relatively infertile limestone. More than 230 varieties of orchids and other tropical flowers brighten the landscape.

The islands contain several active and several dormant volcanoes. The Tinakula and Kavachi volcanoes are the most active.



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Number of Species

Number of bird species: 289


Number of endemics: (81) 26 Non-passerines

Sanford's Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus sanfordi Imitator Sparrowhawk Accipiter imitator Woodford's Rail Nesoclopeus woodfordi Roviana Rail Gallirallus rovianae San Cristobal Moorhen Gallinula silvestris Crested Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena crassirostris Thick-billed Ground-Dove Gallicolumba salamonis Silver-capped Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus richardsii White-headed Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus eugeniae Chestnut-bellied Imperial-Pigeon Ducula brenchleyi Pale Mountain-Pigeon Gymnophaps solomonensis Ducorps's Cockatoo Cacatua ducorpsii Yellow-bibbed Lory Lorius chlorocercus Meek's Lorikeet Charmosyna meeki Duchess Lorikeet Charmosyna margarethae Buff-headed Coucal Centropus milo Solomon Islands Hawk-Owl Ninox jacquinoti Fearful Owl Nesasio solomonensis Solomon's Frogmouth Rigidpenna inexpectata Solomon's Nightjar Eurostopodus nigripennis North Solomons Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx meeki New Georgia Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx collectoris Guadalcanal Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx nigromaxilla Makira Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx gentianus Ultramarine Kingfisher Todiramphus leucopygius Moustached Kingfisher Actenoides bougainvillei

Number of endemics: (81) 55 Passerines

Black-faced Pitta Pitta anerythra Solomon Islands Cuckooshrike Coracina holopolia Makira (San Cristobal) Thrush Zoothera margaretae Shade Bush Warbler Horornis parens Bougainville Bush Warbler Horornis haddeni Bougainville Thicketbird Megalurulus llaneae Makira (San Cristobal) Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus makirensis Sombre Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus amoenus White-winged Fantail Rhipidura cockerelli Brown Fantail Rhipidura drownei Dusky Fantail Rhipidura tenebrosa Rennell Fantail Rhipidura rennelliana Malaita Fantail Rhipidura malaitae Vanikoro Monarch Mayrornis schistaceus Rennell Shrikebill Clytorhynchus hamlini Bougainville Monarch Monarcha erythrostictus Chestnut-bellied Monarch Monarcha castaneiventris White-capped Monarch Monarcha richardsii Kulambangra Monarch Monarcha browni White-collared Monarch Monarcha viduus Solomons Monarch Symposiarchrus barbatus Steel-blue Flycatcher Myiagra ferrocyanea Ochre-headed Flycatcher Myiagra cervinicauda Hooded Whistler Pachycephala implicata Temotu Whistler Pachycephala vanikorensis Midget Flowerpecker Dicaeum aeneum Mottled Flowerpecker Dicaeum tristrami Rennell White-eye Zosterops rennellianus Vella Lavella Zosterops vellalavella Ganongga White-eye Zosterops splendidus Gizo White-eye Zosterops luteirostris Yellow-throated White-eye Zosterops metcalfii Solomons White-eye Zosterops kulambangrae Dark-eyed White-eye Zosterops tetiparius Kolombangara White-eye Zosterops murphyi Grey-throated White-eye Zosterops rendovae Malaita White-eye Zosterops stresemanni Santa Cruz White-eye Zosterops santaecrucis Vanikoro White-eye Zosterops gibbsi Bare-eyed White-eye Woodfordia superciliosa Sanford's White-eye Zosterops lacertosa Bougainville Honeyeater Stresemannia bougainvillei Scarlet-naped Myzomela Myzomela lafargei Yellow-vented Myzomela Myzomela eichhorni Red-bellied Myzomela Myzomela malaitae Black-headed Myzomela Myzomela melanocephala Sooty Myzomela Myzomela tristrami Guadalcanal Honeyeater Guadalcanaria inexpectata San Cristobal Melidectes Melidectes sclateri Guadalcanal Crow Corvus woodfordi Bougainville Crow Corvus meeki Rennell Starling Aplonis insularis White-eyed Starling Aplonis brunneicapilla Brown-winged Starling Aplonis grandis San Cristobal Starling Aplonis dichroa


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Useful Reading

Birds and Bird Lore of Bougainville and the North Solomons

By Don Hadden | Dove Publications | 2001 | Paperback | 312 pages, Maps, colour photos |

ISBN: 0959025758

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Melanesia

(Bismarcks, Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia ) | By Guy Dutson | Christopher Helm | 2011 | Paperback | 447 pages | 75 colour plates | colour photos | colour maps | black & white illustrations | tables |

ISBN: 9780713665406

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of the Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia

by Chris Doughty, Nicholas Day & Andrew Plant | Christopher Helm | 1999 | Paperback | 206 pages, 91 colour plates, 340 colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 071364690X

Buy this book from NHBS.com


PEIN Country Profile and Virtual Environment Library


Solomon Islands…

The Nature Conservancy - Solomon Islands Program


The Solomon Islands are ranked among the top 10 most biologically diverse and imperiled nations in the world. Their coral reefs contain extraordinarily diverse and valuable marine resources and, with the exception of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands have the greatest diversity of vertebrate species of all Pacific Island nations…


Abbreviations Key

Arnarvon Islands - Community-Managed Conservation Area


Satellite View

The Arnarvon Islands are located in the Manning Straits, midway between Choiseul and Isabel Islands, two large mountainous islands in the Solomon Archipelago…

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2009 [09 September] - Mark Van Beirs

PDF Report

Our 2009 Solomon Islands tour will be remembered by its participants by the copious and unseasonal amounts of rain and mud, the sometimes brutally steep, slippery trails, the painful ‘trenchfoot’, the dark, gloomy straw house on Makira, the tough hike and wet overnight high on Kolombangara volcano, the splendidly performing ‘out of this world’ Solomon Islands Frogmouth, the stealthy, beautiful and very rarely seen Black-faced Pitta and the great looks at extraordinary Solomon Sea Eagles…

2011 [11 November] - Sicklebill Safaris


…A Nicobar Pigeon on an island near Matikuri was a highlight for Jun here, the small island was full of breeding pigeons, as well as Beach Kingfishr, Melanesian Megapode and other birds….

2013 [09 September] - Mark Van Beirs

PDF Report

…Highlights included Pied Goshawk, Sanford’s Sea Eagle, Roviana Rail, Red-backed Buttonquail, White-headed Fruit Dove, Solomons Cockatoo, Finsch’s Pygmy Parrot, Yellow-bibbed Lory, Buff-headed Coucal, Ultramarine Kingfisher, Black-headed, Sooty and Crimson-rumped Myzomelas, Rennell Whistler, Rennell Shrikebill, Bare-eyed White-Eye and a splendid selection of white-eyes from different islands….

2014 [07 July] - Petri Hottola

PDF Report

Common Mynas dominated the street-side scene and dozens of them also roosted at the hotel. A pair of Willie Wagtails had a nest in the garden, with a pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds in the neighborhood. Up in the sky, three White-rumped Swiftlets were hawking for insects. There were, however, also some Melanesian goodies around. In the morning, I spotted my first Pied Goshawk (pied morph), a pair of Yellow-bibbed Lories and another pair of Cardinal Lories. In the evening, a Guadalcanal Boobook was calling on the forested ridge above and to the west of the hotel. According to some trip reports, they also occur further in the same direction, around the botanical garden....

2015 [05 May] - Phil Gregory

Report PDF

...being shown a Fearful Owl at nest site early on after a tough slippery walk over sharp limestone ricks, then finding a Black-faced Pitta in a forest patch by the track and getting great views of it. We had a field lunch of tuna and rice, and were back at the village by 1300. I tried for Santa Isabel Rail that afternoon and got to hear one or two calling from a dense thicket.

2015 [07 July] - Mark Van Beirs

Report PDF

The indisputable Birds of the Trip of the 2015 Solomon Islands tour were Black-faced Pitta, Fearful Owl and Solomons Frogmouth. The pitta because it took several days of hard work to finally see it and the reward was the most amazing eye-ball to eye-ball encounter I have ever had with this very difficult pitta.

2017 [04 April] - Chris Collins - Southwest Pacific Odysse

PDF Report

This systematic list was compiled by Chris Collins (based on the figures agreed at the nightly logs) and includes all species recorded between departing Tauranga, New Zealand and arriving at Kokopo, New Britain.

2017 [07 July] - Charles Davies


I joined a Birdquest tour to Solomons in July 2017 (led by Mark Van Beirs and Josh Bergmark) that visited a number of the islands, including the highlands of Makira. All of the mountain areas in the Solomons are extremely complicated to reach, and Birdquest organizes the only birding tour that visits them regularly (every two years).

2017 [08 August] - Mark van Beirs

PDF Report

Magnificent, but often skulking birds. Mud, sweat, slippery trails, steep mountains, shaky logistics, and an airline with a dubious reputation. This is what the Solomon Islands tour is all about, but these forgotten islands in the southwest Pacific hold some glorious, very rarely observed birds that very few birders will ever have the privilege to add to their lifelist

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel - Guadalcanal


From the hotel, it is possible to arrange flights to more than 20 of the outer islands or to join the off-the-beaten-track travellers and venture into the wilds of the country, dive further afield to coral reefs and war wrecks, observe the diversity of Melanesian culture, fish and sightsee among the great battlegrounds of the Pacific…

Other Links

Solomon Island Eclectus Eclectus roratus solomensis


The lovely Solomon Island Eclectus is a bit smaller than the Vosmaeri Eclectus. As with other Eclectus species, the male is green and the female is red and blue…

Solomon Islands Crowned Pigeon Microgoura meeki


One of the Fifty Rarest Birds of the World…

Wetlands and Forest Ecosystems of the Solomon Islands


Solomon Islands attracts immense interest from the international community due to the uniqueness, diversity and biological significance of its natural environment. Solomon Islands' forests form part of the belt of tropical rainforest that covers only 7 percent of the Earth's surface but that accommodates 70 percent to nearly 90 percent of all species of plants and animals…